The emerging pandemic lockdown on transportation is reminding Americans about the freedom of the open road.
As of August 9, France has required a vaccine passport to travel cross-country on trains. Pas de big deal? Mais non! Like most European countries, France long ago enacted policies favoring the passenger train over the freedom and independence of the personal automobile. Want to get from Paris to Marseille? Train, s’il vous plait. The centralized government subsidizes train travel, levies heavy taxes on fuel and car purchases, and limits passenger car traffic in some urban cores.
Until now, pas de probleme. But then President Macron announced only the vaxxed could travel cross-country by rail. That’s when l‘excrement vraiment hit the fan.
It’s not just France. North of the border, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will require vaccination for all inter-provincial rail travelers (and many others):
“As soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October, the government of Canada will require employees in the federally regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated. In addition the vaccination requirement will also extend to certain travelers. This includes all commercial air travelers, passengers on interprovincial trains and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations such as cruise ships.” – Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.
Here in the U.S., Reuters reports the White House is working on a plan to require vax passports for foreign visitors. The Associated Press says the administration has discussed a ban on interstate travel without proof of vaccination. But that initiative is considered a bridge too far – for now, White House officials say.
“Road trips are the equivalent of human wings,” poet Victoria Erickson says. Sure, the government could waste the dwindling resource of police man-hours by having them arrest us for Driving While Unvaccinated. From a certain twisted point of view, there’s little to choose between the unvaxxed citizen and the heroin-packing drug mule.
But we Americans, we covet our freedom. As long as we allow them to hold office, our elected overseers can keep us off planes and trains. But automobiles? You can have my car keys when you pry them out of my cold, dead hands.